Maulana Sheikh Nazim The True Meaning of "Suhbah" and its Importance

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, laa ilaha illa-Llah. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahi ‘l-hamd. Madad, ya Rijaalullah. Thumma as–salaat was salaam `ala Sayyid al-Awwaleen wa ’l-Akhireen, shukur ya Rabb, shukr lil-Llahi, an ja`lanee min ummati Habeebihi (s)

Thumma as-salaat wa ’s-salaam `alaa saa’iri ’l-anbiyaa wa ’l-mursaleen, w’alhamdullilahi rabbi ’l-`alameen.

Praise and peace upon Prophet Muhammad (s), and upon all prophets and messengers. All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Madad, ya rijaalAllah. Sayyidee wa mawlay, shaykhuna, shaykh ul-mashaykh Sultan al-Awliya `AbdAllah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani Hazretleri, Allah Jalla wa `ala ja`alanee an akoon fee suhbatihi nahwa arb`eena `aaman.

My master, our shaykh, the Shaykh of Shaykhs, Sultan al-Awliya `AbdAllah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani, His Holiness, Allah made me to be in his association for around 40 years, alhamdulillah, without stopping. He would always say whenever he wanted to begin suhbat, “Our tariqah is based on association and the good is in the gathering.” These words were carried down from the Arch-intercessor of created beings, Shah Bahauddin Naqshband (q), and he took that precious jewel from the Presence of the Prophet (s) when the Prophet said, “Religion is advice.”

This is the manner which all our noble predecessors of the imams of the Naqshbandiyya kept, and in the same manner all other tariqahs since the beginning up to now. Man is in need of training/discipline. Without discipline he has no value and no weight, neither in this life or the next. But when Allah made them leaders of calling to Truth, all of them were making association with Allah’s servants.

Now nasiha, advice, indicates officiality, but association makes the servants become companions to the Prophet (s). An advice is official, but suhbat, association, advises the servant, particularly when he may feel very distant from him (s). Therefore, the Prophet (s) gave advice to the common people and gave suhbat in his gatherings, which were not “official.”

O Shaykh Hisham Effendi! Familiarity between persons will make each companion feel integrated, whereas in the official type of talk he cannot get close. Therefore suhbat makes the servant of Allah feel close to the one giving advice. That is the meaning of suhbat.

All of the noble Sahaba were often in association with the Prophet (s) until they felt that familiarity with him. The Prophet (s) said, “Religion is nasiha, advice” and because the awliyaaullah are inheritors of the Prophet (s), they choose familiarity and closeness, so that when they held an association the servants would feel that familiarity and become joyous. How many people came to the presence of the Prophet (a), and he ordered them based on the characteristics in which they were dressed. It is the character of prophets to deliver their message, but those who were able to become familiar with the spirituality of the Prophet (s) were those who sat with him, and however many did not reach that level took from the official instructions and advice.

Our Naqshbandi masters, and specifically Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q) used to say, “Our way is association. Keep familiarity.” So as “religion is advice,” all the awliyaaullah that composed our tariqah also spoke from that ocean, advising, that our tariqah is suhbat. Suhbat brings familiarity between two persons, then the inheritors of Prophet (s) used that familiarity to be servants with the Muhammadan inheritor. So if “the way is association,” there is no officiality there. In Islam officiality is a danger, both in the proximity to kings or in familiarity with the Prophet (s), as he said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

We are not deserving nor able, but we are imitating. Men are inspired (during suhbat); in their gathering it will be light, not heavy; whereas officiality is heavy, association is light. In official gatherings, the Prophet (s) used official words, but in the time when they sat together for making closeness of hearts, there used to descend, on the basis of the levels of the hearts of those present and the listeners, something mulasfah, which they would study there and which would make their hearts closer to each other. And the intent is to make the hearts of al-insaan (Mankind) and insaan al-quloob, men (people) of hearts, inside the heart of the Prophet (s)!

SultaanAllah! SubhanAllah! And we say, a`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem, with the intent that Allah makes us far from the association of Shaytan. I seek refuge in Allah: don’t come near, neither Shaytan nor those representing Shaytan! Allah said, “And don’t approach that forbidden tree,” and Shaytan was outside. In the case of our father, Sayyidina Adam (a), and our mother, Sayyidatuna Hawa, that was a divine matter, where Allah (swt) said:

وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ
wa laa taqrabaa hadhihi ’sh-shajarata. Do not (you two) approach this tree. (Surat al-Baqara, 2:35)

So every affair that Allah made to His servant from that tree was due to coming close and yantarid, “Do not approach this tree,” and there is no power and no might except with Allah the Almighty. “Do not approach this tree!”

Suhbat makes the servant awake and aware all the time, and in it is an indication of, “Do not approach the tree of your ego.” In the reality of every human being there is spirituality and ego is striving hard to overcome the servant, and to make the servant approach that tree which is forbidden, and to make the servant break his oath and commitment.

أعدى أعدائك نفسك التي بين جنبيك
A`ad `adoo laka nafasak allatee bayna jambayk. “The most dangerous enemy is your ego that is between your two sides.” (al-Bayhaqi)

That means, don’t look here or there outside yourself, but your enemy is your own self.

SubhanAllah l-`Aliyyi ’l-`Azheem. Qul, Bismillahi ‘r-Rahmani ‘r-Raheem! The Prophet (s) said, “Halaal is manifest and haraam is manifest.” Is there any doubt there? Halaal is clear and haraam is clear: there is no doubt. Those people all the time accuse people of shirk. Didn't they hear the Prophet (s) say that halaal is clear and haraam is clear? Didn't the Prophet (s) clarify things? He is the one who brought Shari`atullah, the firm law, from Allah (swt). (Mawlana says when you are in the presence of Prophet in his maqaam, you feel Allah's Presence and you praise the owner of that maqaam.) How do they accuse people of committing shirk when they do that, when Prophet said, “Halaal is clear.”

Let's clarify the meaning of shirk. This is an introduction of that topic and inspiration we are receiving we will speak in order to clarify this for the ummah. Those who are ignorant or against the kernel of realities are blind in both worlds, and there is no importance or value for their words! Those who work against Allah's law, Allah's anger descends on them. When you look at their faces you see darkness and ugliness; they make people run away from them and there is no familiarity on their faces. The Prophet (s) said, “Ask for favors from those with beautiful faces.” Ugly faces you should stay away from. Forgiveness, O my Lord!


Mawlana Shaykh Hisham: Mashaa-Allah, what a great tafseer for the meaning of “suhbah.” Amazing!

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim: This is your barakah, Shaykh Hisham. It’s coming from you.

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham: Your face is beautiful and familiar; your name should be “Anees” (kind, beautiful) because you make everyone happy. You should open a dargah there. Mashaa-Allah, beautiful suhbah. This should be an introduction in every book you arrange as no one understands that suhbah is familiarity with the shaykh and tariqah is to be serious and to struggle on the path.

Lefke, 28.04.2011 (Translated from Arabic)

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